The right leads can bring in good business, so for brokers, it’s worth investing in quality lead generation
NEW LEADS come from a variety of sources, so finding the most effective way to generate them is important. Purchasing from companies that provide leads is one way, so read on to find out more about how these leads are qualified, and what results they can achieve for your business.
WHERE DO LEADS COME FROM?
Companies that sell leads to mortgage brokers are generally based online, says Julian Mattatia, joint managing director at moneyQuest. moneyQuest purchased an online lead generation business three years ago because it had found that consumers researching home loans on comparison sites like ratesonline.com.au were at the point in their buying cycle where they were ready to engage.
The site enables the customer to complete a lead form on the web and answer several qualifying questions. If they don’t meet certain criteria, then the lead is not put up for sale.
Several companies sell leads to brokers, according to Mr Mattatia. Some ‘filter’ them, meaning the broker can access quality leads by asking for certain criteria to be met.
“For example, they can say they don’t want leads that have bad credit, or they only want leads that are people who are employed full time,” he says. “These are two things that a broker can often specify with companies.”
1300 Home Loan managing director John Kolenda says leads at 1300 Home Loan are generated from a variety of sources. These include direct marketing activity on TV and radio and in print, as well as a significant spend online, including search engine optimisation/marketing (SEO/SEM) for several brands.
HOW ARE THEY QUALIFIED?
Mr Kolenda says it is important to be clear both with your brokers and call centre about what constitutes a well-qualified lead. Some people, he explains, believe leads will be the same whether they come from a referral, direct marketing or are generated online.
“The truth is that all cases can lead to a loan, but the value and perceived quality placed on each of these by a broker can be quite varied,” he says.
“As most of the industry is sourcing leads from online strategies, we see quite contrasting conversion statistics.
“After years of working with different brokers and different types of leads, we believe that it is better to send less leads, but ones of the highest quality.”
For example, leads from sites linked to ‘How Much Can I Borrow’ pages produce poorer conversion rates than well thought out online SEM or SEO strategies. While they may generate a larger number of leads, Mr Kolenda warns that they are of a lower quality and require a lot more work to get the same return.
Also, the potential borrower is interested in researching their borrowing capacity rather than wanting to deal with a mortgage broker. “That is why we focus on and rank well for mortgage broker-related keywords, which produce better quality leads,” he says.
“These days, the art of lead generation is very sophisticated, engaging numerous skills sets including web design, marketing, SEO/SEM expertise, uploading new content, refreshment, PR and video content – all working together to drive better quality and volume.
“At 1300 Home Loan, every single lead is qualified by trained call centre brokers,” adds Mr Kolenda. “Their role is to make the first point of contact, qualify the customer to a Genworth borrowing calculator and ensure the customer really wants to speak with one of our brokers before dispatching directly to one of our broker partners.
“Each call is also recorded and a synopsis prepared and sent via email and SMS. We also simultaneously send out an email to the customer to introduce the broker, who has also been CC’d into the introductory email.”
WHAT IS THE CONVERSION RATIO?
While there is no official data from other companies, positive client feedback is an indicator of strong conversion rates, says Mr Mattatia. “The data for conversion rates is not given back to us; the companies generally don’t do that,” he says. “But the fact that they keep buying them would indicate that their conversions must be okay, or they wouldn’t buy them.
“In terms of our own brokers, who are provided with leads from our sites like ratesonline.com.au and moneyQuest.com.au, our conversion ratio on average is between 15 and 25 per cent.”
Mr Kolenda is seeing similar conversion rates: “They start with a raw lead which is then qualified by our internal call centre before being forwarded to one of our skilled brokers,” he says. “We are seeing an end conversion rate of 15 to 20 per cent to settlement, and this increases over time as some customers buy many months [after] their initial enquiry.”
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